information and carry out their business with government online much
more easily in future by using a single 'gateway' point of access,
said minister for the Cabinet Office, Jack Cunningham today.
first two years of the Modernising government Programme launched
today by Dr Cunningham. Following the publication of the Modernising
government White Paper in March, the Action Plan details specific
commitments in a wide range of key areas. Action to come includes:
* By December, the government will run a trial of a single electronic
'gateway'. This will open up a range of one stop shop services, such
as providing information about a change of address to different parts
of government in one go.
* Government websites will give more information and be more
convenient to use under new guidelines to be issued by the Cabinet
Office's Central IT Unit in November.
* By 1 October, government departments and agencies will have
standards in place covering the length of time users should wait to
be seen in public offices, and for calls to be answered by telephone
enquiry points. They will also have established an e-mail enquiry
* A report on the way ahead for the civil service will be published
in the autumn. This will include a vision of the service's future
direction in the light of Modernising government and recommendations
on pay and incentives to reward high quality service and act as an
incentive to innovate.
* Businesses and the public will benefit from the introduction of a
phone line one stop shop service on regulations which will be
available in 16 pilot local authorities in the autumn. Infoshop will
enable front line staff to provide comprehensive and consistent
information on the first point of contact on issues such as whether
planning permission is needed or how best to ensure workers' safety.
* For the first time the public will be able to judge government's
progress against key commitments in delivering their services set out
in Public Service Agreements (PSAs), when information on their
progress is published in March next year.
* Front line staff from, among others, the NHS, local authorities and
schools, will tell senior civil servants what it takes for policies
to work in practice at regular meetings, the first of which will take
place in September.
* A programme of peer reviews will be set up by December which will
help Whitehall departments provide feedback to one another about the
progress they are making in modernising how they work.
* The Cabinet Office's Performance and Innovation Unit will set out
in October how the right incentives and financial management can be
put in place to get departments working better together to deliver
joined up services and tackle difficult cross cutting issues.
Dr Cunningham said:
'When I launched Modernising government I said that it would be a ten
year programme, and to be true modernisers we would need a detailed
plan of the huge range of activity we must undertake to be
successful. We now have this plan in place and I will be closely
monitoring progress against it.
'We are making progress against the full range of Modernising work -
creating responsive high quality public services involving the
innovative use of IT, producing better policy making, and equipping
public servants with the means to deliver modernised services.'
Key action already achieved includes:
* 38 per cent of central government services are available
electronically (the White Paper set a target that 100 per cent of
services would be available electronically by 2008 where there is a
demand for them).
* The Cabinet Office is vetoing policies which impose unnecessarily
high regulatory burdens on businesses and is acting as a champion of
businesses to ensure departments' proposals for regulations are
assessed at the earliest possible stage. A Guide for Ministers and
officials on how to be more effective in negotiating European
regulations, which will reduce burdens on business, was published
* New measures to tackle inequality in the civil service have been
announced and the first ever Civil Service Careers Fair for minority
ethnic students was held this month.
* The Centre for Management and Policy Studies (CMPS) is up and
running, with one of its priorities being to design joint training
for ministers and civil servants on policy making.
* The second round of the Invest to Save Budget has been launched
which allows public service organisations to bid for money to develop
projects designed to deliver better services to their users - in an
innovative, 'joined up', locally responsive and more efficient
* There have been 12 Listening to Women events around the country and
four Listening to Older People events, with six still to come. These
will help ministers to make policies based on hard evidence of these
* All permanent secretaries now have personal objectives for taking
forward Modernising government, against which their performance will
1. The Modernising government White Paper (ISBN 0 10 143 102 3) was
published on 30 March. Copies are available from The Stationery Office.
2. The Action Plan is available on the internet at:
www.cabinet-office.gov.uk/moderngov/1999/action. Copies of
the Action Plan are available from the Modernising
government secretariat on 0171 270 5856.
3. The Action Plan is being distributed to: ministers, permanent
secretaries and other heads of departments, chief executives of
government agencies and major NDPBS, local authorities in the UK
and voluntary bodies.